In July this year, Odyssey had signed an agreement with Ariel Zeitoun from France's Ajoz Films (Yamakasi, Bandidas) to co-produce the film. Ajoz has a long film-making partnership with Luc Besson's EuropaCorp.
Odyssey chairman Kim Gwang-Deok told Screendaily that the film will be loosely based on Korean award-winning author Too Gwang-soo's novel of the same title. The film will be scripted by both Korean and French writers.
According to Kim, the film will be a futuristic story set 20 years from the present time, but will be interwoven with the Xu Fu legend some 2,200 years ago. Xu is one of the court sorcerers of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang. He was sent to the eastern sea of China (now Japan) to find the secret for eternal youth.
The story of the film will combine murder, suspense and action. 'At least 30% of the filmmaking will adopt computer graphic technologies,' Kim says.
In mid-September, Odyssey had also signed an agreement with Korean CG and special effects company Macrograph to work on the visual effects of the film. In 2007, Macrograph worked on Chinese-US co-production The Forbidden Kingdom, and the company is now working on two Hollywood projects.
At the development stage of the film, Golden Globe Pictures is an equity investor in the film, putting in one-third of the budget, according to Golden Globe general manager Jinhai Chen. He said the company has yet to decide on whether to acquire China distribution rights.
Set up in 2007, Golden Globe Pictures is a private entertainment company with investment from Zhejiang Huace Film and TV Group and a Zhejiang real estate group. Last year, the companyinvested more than $3m in two Chinese TV dramas. This year, apart from Qin Shi Huang Project, the company is also developing two Chinese small-budget films, with filmmaker Ning Ying (I Love Beijing) and scriptwriter Zou Jingzhi (Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles).
Both Besson and Pierre Morel (Taken) are being considered to direct The Qin Shi Huang Project while Lust, Caution actress Tang Wei is being lined up to star.
Shooting is scheduled to start in March 2009 and the locations will include New York, France and a Chinese city. Odyssey and Ajoz will jointly handle international sales of the film.